Tag Archives: Reading

READ ABOUT OUR OWN DR. LEE PICKETT IN THE READING EAGLE

Tick time

June 12, 2012, 12:31 a.m. EDT
Reading Eagle
Ticks are everywhere this summer, and experts say the weather and a shortage of white-footed mice are to blame. Disease-carrying insects that burrow under human and animal skin, ticks are exothermic. That means they get their energy from heat. So the mild winter and pleasant spring has boosted the area’s tick population, said Dr. Kenneth DeBenedictis, director of epidemiology, infection control and prevention at Reading Hospital. Ticks live on the blood of mammals, and mainly the white-footed mouse, DeBenedictis said. But because oak trees produced fewer acorns last fall, something that fluctuates from year to year for unknown reasons, there are fewer of the mice, so more ticks are latching onto humans and pets for nourishment. And with many people enjoying the good weather, DeBenedictis recommends that everyone aggressively protect themselves from ticks. “The habitat here is extremely friendly for ticks,” he said. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s best to apply insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET, an oil that repels ticks. Those spending time outdoors should also conduct a full-body tick check with a mirror and wash off as soon as they go inside. Pennsylvania is a main breeding ground for ticks because of the state’s high population of “tick food,” like deer, mice and squirrels, DeBenedictis said. Ticks are dangerous because they carry Lyme disease and the less-common Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Lyme disease initially causes fever, headache, fatigue, and a rash, according to the CDC, and can lead to heart, joint, and nervous system complications if left untreated. Rocky Mountain spotted fever comes with similar symptoms, but can be fatal if not treated within the first few days of noticeable irritation. Over the past decade in Pennsylvania, 2,000 to 6,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported each year, while 20,000 to 30,000 were reported nationwide in those years, the CDC reported. In Berks County, 518 cases were reported to the state Department of Health between 2007 and 2009, the latest years for which figures are available. Ticks are a big problem for pets in Berks County, said Dr. Lee Pickett, a veterinarian at Bernville Veterinary Clinic. She said most dogs that have been infected with Lyme disease come to her office limping from one leg to another, and can suffer from a fever and loss of appetite. Cats rarely get the disease, she said. “After (pets) go for a walk, run fingers through their hair and coat,” Pickett recommended. “Also, use a fine-toothed flea comb on the dog to pull out the ticks.” Since ticks thrive among vegetation, the CDC recommends that people keep their yards free of leaf litter, mow the lawn often and treat grass and plants with acaricide, a tick pesticide. DeBenedictis said people visiting other parts of the country, especially states in the north-central U.S., should also be wary of tick bites. “When people go on vacation, they forget,” he said. “They don’t bring caution with them.”

NATIONAL NO-KILL DAY

On June 11, 2012, communities all over the United States will end the killing of healthy and treatable animals, even if it is just for one day. Traditional animal shelters, animal control centers, no kill shelters and rescue groups are taking a pledge to work together to empty the shelters the good way. Adorable puppies, kittens, cats and dogs – all available for adoption – will put their best paw forward to encourage Americans to open their hearts and homes and adopt. Special adoption events will take place all across the nation. Check with the many shelters & rescue groups in the Reading / Berks County Area.

Dodgers Pitcher Chad Billingsley Supports the Berks ARL!

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County (ARL) is proud to announce that Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher and Berks County resident Chad Billingsley has committed to support the ARL’s 60th anniversary Diamond Jubilee celebration. For every strikeout thrown by Chad, he will donate $100 to the ARL and for every game he wins, Chad will donate $1000 to the ARL. To date, Chad raised $7,200 towards the Diamond Jubilee fundraiser. During a recent interview with Chad, he stated, “There wasn’t a single day of my life that we didn’t have a furry family member, and they were just that, members of our family. I now continue that with my own family, and our two dogs, Riley and Roxy. The Animal Rescue League best exemplifies the love and caring that all animals need. They go above and beyond any other animal shelter, to truly care for each animal coming through their door, and no one will ever be turned away. Hopefully, with my continued support, the Animal Rescue League will be able to help many more of our furry friends.” Here is your chance to play in the big leagues! Pledge a matching donation for Chad’s strikeouts and/or his game wins and get a chance to meet Chad. A $100 pledge gets you an invitation to the Meet and Greet on November 7 at the shelter; a $1000 pledge or greater gives you two tickets to join Chad at the Animal Rescue League’s Annual Gala on November 9th at the Reading Crowne Plaza. “Chad and Tiffany are two of the best people I have met in all of my years in animal rescue. They are true animal lovers and I am thrilled to have them as major supporters of the Animal Rescue League,” says Board President Barrie Pease. For more information contact www.berksarl.org or www.bernvillevet.com

Cute Pet of the Week: Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear looks like his cuddly namesake, but he requires much more care than a stuffed animal. Two years ago, Dr. Westfall rescued the homeless dog and diagnosed severe heart disease. Nevertheless, his adoptive mom, Irene, shown here holding Teddy after his Mother’s Day haircut by our groomer Tina, made a lifetime commitment to doing whatever is necessary to keep him healthy. Luckily, she is related to Desiree, one of our veterinary nurses, who helps with his care. So he’s often here at Bernville Vet, and his care is “all in the family.”

Our Stained Glass Windows

        Many of you comment on the beautiful stained glass windows in our hospital. We asked Dr Steve about their history and this is what he said: “Stained glass has always been one of my favorite art forms. I really wanted a pet-themed piece to accent the hospital. I went to South Mountain Stained Glass to get a design. He gave me some very elegant southwest inspired designs that were beautiful but not what I felt was in the spirit of my vision. They would have looked great in a financial building or elegant home but not the hospital. I drew a simple design and I explained to him my whimsical animal inspired theme with the sun & moon and he redesigned from that. He did an excellent job! Also, I can’t take credit for the amazing side windows around the door; they were designed by an intern at Partners’ Design.”

Acupuncture for Pets Works!

Dr. Lee Pickett performing acupuncture on a dog
Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine therapy, is used in conjunction with conventional Western medicine to treat dogs and cats with pain or weakness associated with degenerative joint disease (including osteoarthritis due to hip dysplasia), spondylosis, intervertebral disc disease and traumatic nerve injuries. Veterinarians also use acupuncture in allergic skin disease, lick granulomas, seizures and kidney failure, and in birds with psychological feather-picking. Techniques and Treatment Schedules Treatment consists of one or more of the following techniques, depending on the pet’s medical condition: 1) dry needle acupuncture, the insertion of sterile acupuncture needles into the skin at various locations – points – where they are retained for about 15 minutes; 2) electro-acupuncture, which provides a small, non-painful electrical current to some of the needles; 3) moxibustion, warming the acupuncture point by burning the herb mugwort (Artemis vulgaris) above the surface of the skin; or 4) aquapuncture, injecting a substance such as Vitamin B complex into an acupuncture point. Most dogs don’t mind acupuncture treatments and actually come to enjoy them, although not all cats tolerate them well. A family member usually holds the pet during treatment. A typical treatment schedule starts with two treatments per week for the first two weeks, then one treatment per week for a month. Subtle improvement usually is noted by the fourth treatment. If no improvement is seen by the sixth treatment, additional treatments are unlikely to prove beneficial. After maximal improvement is achieved, treatments are gradually stretched out to a schedule that meets the pet’s needs. Generally, maintenance treatments are repeated every one to two months throughout the pet’s life. At Bernville Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Lee Pickett provides acupuncture therapy. How Acupuncture Works Some, but not all, of the actions of acupuncture can be explained in terms familiar to conventional Western medicine and science. Acupuncture is thought to exert its pain-relieving effects by releasing brain chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, and by blocking transmission of pain signals up the spinal cord to the brain. Function is thought to be enhanced through increased blood circulation to the area needled. In traditional Chinese medicine, disease is thought to result from an imbalance of yin and yang (essentially an imbalance of normal homeostasis) as well as abnormal flow of Qi (loosely translated to mean energy) and blood (similar but not identical to the Western concept of blood.) The objective of acupuncture therapy is to restore balance and enhance the flow of Qi and blood. Precautions Before acupuncture therapy begins, a conventional Western workup is done to determine whether other therapies would be more appropriate or even whether acupuncture is contraindicated. For example, it is essential to differentiate joint pain due to osteoarthritis (a chronic degenerative disorder for which acupuncture is useful) from pain caused by Lyme disease or septic arthritis (infections for which other treatment is more appropriate) or bone cancer (which will develop faster with acupuncture treatments.) Adverse reactions from acupuncture are rare if the correct points, depths of needle insertion, needling techniques and retention times are used. The possibility of infection, though extremely low, is minimized by using sterile needles and needling only uninfected skin. Bleeding occurs only rarely; when it does, the few drops released from the acupuncture point are a positive sign. For a day or so after an acupuncture treatment, the pet may experience drowsiness or weakness. These transient effects are considered good prognostic signs, but treatments should not be scheduled for the day before competition or heavy exercise (e.g., obedience trials, agility trials or hunting.) Other potential adverse reactions include hives and increased growth rate of established tumors. Corticosteroids, particularly at high doses, may block some of the effects of acupuncture. Suggested Reading Altman, Sheldon. Acupuncture Therapy in Small Animal Practice. Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Third Edition, Edited by Stephen J. Ettinger, 1989, pp. 484-498. Kendall, D.E. A Scientific Model for Acupuncture, Part I. American Journal of Acupuncture 17(3):251-268. Kendall, D.E. A Scientific Model for Acupuncture, Part II. American Journal of Acupuncture 17(4):343-360. Schoen, Allen M. Veterinary Acupuncture: Ancient Art to Modern Medicine. American Veterinary Publications, Inc., California, 1994. Schwartz, Cheryl. Four Paws, Five Directions. Celestial Arts Publishing, California, 1996.

COMMUNITY LEADER PROFILE: ARL’S BOARD PRESIDENT BARRIE PEASE

For those of you who are not aware of the amazing things that Barrie does in our community, just read the interview below! • Where are you originally from? I was born in Reading, PA and have lived here most of my life with the exception years in the military and the State Police. • Describe your role in the area pet community? I got my start in the area of animal rescue about 20 years ago as a volunteer with Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue. I was then asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the Animal Rescue League of Berks County and am now in my 11th year as president of the board. In addition I serve as Chairman of the Animal Control Board for the City of Reading and am a member of the Board of Directors of Crime Alert Berks that will now pay rewards for tips on animal abuse or animal cruelty. One of my rescue dogs is also a certified therapy dog so she and I make visits to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and many public appearances on behalf of the Animal Rescue League. • What would you say is the most important impact that your organization has? The Animal Rescue League is the only open door shelter in Berks County. It is the place where no animal is left behind – even the ones that other shelters will not take. We contract with all of the municipalities in the county for animal control, investigation of abuse and cruelty cases, perform large animal rescue, and handle between 10,000 and 11,000 animals each year. In addition we offer low cost spay and neuter services along with a low cost vaccine clinic each month. We work with various breed rescues, cat rescues, cat TNR programs, and have developed several new innovative programs to help keep pets in their homes and healthy and happy. Among these are our Grey Muzzle program which takes older or unhealthy cats and dogs and places them in foster homes until they are healthy and a forever home can be found for them. We also started a BARC (Beginning Animal Rescue Correctly) program which provides every adoptive family the opportunity to work with a certified animal trainer and learn about special problems adopted animals may face until they settle into their new home. • What would you say was the one greatest pet related, community accomplishment that you have had? I would say making the Animal Rescue League more visible in the community. By doing this we have reached and educated a good deal of the population and have changed many attitudes about animal welfare. We were able to get support that lobbied to pass the two “Puppy Mill” bills, and I feel we are now making an impact in the community by being more visible and partnering with several other community organizations • Does your organization have a big annual event? With have an annual Dog Days Gala, but have several other events throughout the year some fund raising some just fun and educational. • What is your organization’s biggest need? As I am sure is true in most non-profits our biggest need is always funding. We are never sure what will come into the shelter or in what condition that animal will come to us. So funding is always an issue. We started a Noel Fund named after a Jack Russell terrier that came to us after being struck by a car just before Christmas several years ago. That fund is restricted to paying expenses for injured animals that come into the shelter. As you can imagine making decisions on what to do with that fund is never easy so the more funding we get for it the more animals we can save. • At what point in your life did you realize that you had such a deep connection with pets? I have always loved animals. As a small child I remember my parents having a litter of Cocker Spaniels and of a special one named Twinkle who slept under my bed every night. • List your pets and names throughout the years (including childhood ones): Since there are so many starting in my childhood I will only list the current ones Lillie Marlene a five year old Great Pyrenees Certified therapy dog born at the shelter. Bubba a 14 year old Golden from DVGRR that we adopted when he was 7 years old and heart worm positive, and seven cats two in the barn and five in the house all from the ARL. Barn: Momma Cass and Stella, in the house Nittany, Aspen, who we got when they were 2 weeks old, Victoria, Heidi, and Nicholas. • What kind of food do you feed your pets? They all get Blue Buffalo food and treats, however Bubba and Lillie do get pizza crusts and Lillie loves ice cubes. • Personal questions: o What is your favorite movie? Casablanca o What kind of music do you like? Classic Country o What was the last book that you read? 10 Secrets my Dog Taught Me, by Carlo De Vito. o Where was your last vacation? The Pyrenees Mountains in France and Spain. o What is your favorite restaurant? Panevino Italian Restaurant in Downtown Reading PA o If you could meet with anyone in the world, who would it be? Since I am a WWII history buff I would have to say General Patton. o Other personal facts that you think might be interesting: My favorite wild animal is of course the Nittany Lion.